5 Songs We Can’t Stop Listening to is an editing process. Each week we get tons of albums sent to us, we obsessively check every music blog and Bandcamp page, and we listen. And we listen again. And we think, “What is it about this song that gets us? Why this one over that one?” Once we figure it out we tell you, hoping that you feel the same magic that we do.
Ed Piskor’s pick: Kurtis Blow- “The Breaks”
Ed Piskor is the author and illustrator of Hip-Hop Family Tree Volumes I & 2, an ongoing comprehensive graphic novel about Hip-Hop, it’s origins, and the people. Ed has captured the story of hip-hop in the greatest possible medium for the genre. You can see the fashion, the look, the wild style of the culture. Ed’s journalistic devotion to diving into hip-hop’s characters and understanding the narrative at it’s most detailed has resulted in two volume’s of unparalleled work. At times I have looked to Family Tree as a guide, a mythology, the word of god on hip-hop.
After the release of Hip-Hop Family Tree Volume I, I e-mailed Ed and told him how gracious I was that someone was doing this kind of work. After Volume II came out I thought, “Why don’t I ask him if he wants to have a conversation about hip-hop and graphic novels with me?” So I did. You can check out our whole conversation right here.
Kurtis Blow’s “The Breaks” was released in 1980.
Listen if you like: Old school hip-hop, Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash.
Marianne Faithfull- “Late Victorian Holocaust”
There is an obsession in music with young voices. Youth has a sound. It’s bright, full of energy, and often, far out of touch with reality. I think that’s why most people consume progressively less music as they grow older. The voices, the songs no longer reflect the reality of adult life. The tired grind of everyday existence, and how weary it can be. It’s for that reason that Marianne Faithfull’s voice is so powerful in this song. Her voice is not young, and it’s not trying to be. She is not ashamed that she is an old woman, because there is nothing to be ashamed of. And that has a sound too. It is dignified and its proud, and its beautiful.
Marianne Faithfull’s new album, Give My Love To London, will be out on November 11.
Listen if you like: Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits.
The Budos Band- “The Sticks”
It is difficult to be an exclusively instrumental band in 2014. Booker T and the MGs pulled it off in the 60’s by being a house band at Stax Records and laying the rhythm for Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, and Bill Withers, but gone are the days of Stax, Motown, and Muscle Shoals house bands.
But that sound is not dead. In fact, it might be rising from the dead. The Budos band can be seen as almost direct descendents of Booker T and the MG’s. In this song there is a ripping Hammond organ, earthy guitar bars, and a brass section that sounds like it may be eulogizing the death of a front man and rejoicing in the re-birth of this sound.
The Budos Band’s new album, Burnt Offering, will be out on October 21.
Listen if you like: Booker T and the MG’s, something to lead a troop into battle with, Sound Travels.
Elliphant- “One More” feat. Mo
Do you ever get to that part of the night where your friends are ready to fade out, but you don’t want that feeling to end. Maybe it’s 1 o’clock in the morning and you have already had drinks at a friends house, been to the eastside, and, if you're me, you’ve done karaoke at Landmark. (Frank Sinatra’s My Way) You just got paid. You haven’t a night like this in a while, and you just want to keep feeling that unencumbered happiness a little longer. You got your elbow in your friends side, “Just one more, just one more.” That’s this song.
Elliphant’s new EP, One More, will be out on October 14.
Listen if you like: Glass Animals, electronic music with female vocals, Scandinavian pop.
Milo- featuring Kool AD- “In Gaol”
I love monotone deliveries in songs because it makes the listener pay attention to what is being said, not how its being sung. The emphasis is on writing. This song features two monotone deliveries, from Milo and Kool A.D. At the end of this track, Kool AD says, “I feel like Leonard Cohen, and I don’t even know if I could name a Leonard Cohen track.” The reason why he says that, subconscious or not, is because Kool AD, and Milo, like Leonard Cohen, are writers first, and singers second.
Milo’s new album, a toothpaste suburb, is out now.
Listen if you like: Open Mike Eagle, Busdriver, low key hip-hop.